According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, alternative fuel vehicles (AFV’s) in the Europe Union are off to a very strong start in the first quarter of this year, increasing their numbers sold by 37.6% to 212,945 vehicles.

Hybrid vehicles (HEV) showed the biggest growth with 61.2% versus the same period last year, now counting 111,006 units. Electrically chargeable vehicles (ECV = BEV and plug-in hybrids) grew with 29.9% from 36,322 units sold in Q1, 2016 to 47,196 units in Q1, 2017. This includes 49% growth for “battery-only” (BEV’s) to 24,592 units sold and 13% growth for the plug-in hybrids (21,644 units). The U.S. market showed a similar growth of 49% for electric car sales to 40,700 units sold in the first quarter according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The American car market is about 16% larger.

All the major markets in the EU added many new AFV registrations over the first three months. Spain showed the largest increase (+87.4%) over the first quarter of 2017 followed by Germany (+67.5%), the UK (+29.9%), France (+24.8%) and Italy (17.2$). The growth in Italy is due in large part to the recovery in LPG-fuelled (natural gas) cars, but for the other markets, the growth is mostly the result of strong sales in electrically chargeable vehicles (ECV’s or BEV’s) and hybrid-electric (plug-in hybrids).

 

New passenger car registrations by alternative fuel type in the European Union during the first quarter of 2017

New passenger car registrations by alternative fuel type in the European Union during the first quarter of 2017

Looking at electric- or battery-only car sales in Europe reported by the European Alternative Fuels Observatory, we see that the improved Renault Zoe is the number one seller by far, followed by the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, Tesla Model S and X and the others. The Zoe’s success story results in a 14.7% market share in Europe, but when you filter down to the France market only, we see that the Zoe accounts for a larger than seventy percent market share of BEVs. No surprise really as the French car manufacturers have always done very well in France. But what about Citroen / Peugeot?

Some interesting numbers from the data above:

  • If Tesla’s Model S and X platform cars were counted together, it would be the #2 Electric Automaker in Europe behind Renault and ahead of Nissan and BMW.
  • The Hyundai Ioniq Electric only debuting recently is already at #7
  • The BMW i3 and Renault Zoe are already at twice their 2016 numbers and it isn’t even June yet.

Altogether a promising set of stats for Europe.

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